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MAKICHUK: Legendary Wings’ goalie Crozier deserves to be in the Hall

I also remember the smell of the hotdogs, the walls of cool Wings souvenirs and paraphernalia, none of which we could afford and watching the warriors come off the ice on a red carpet at the end of the game.




My dad thought he looked familiar.

He was working on this car, at a GM dealership in Windsor at the time, doing front-end alignment, wheel balancing and new car pre-delivery inspections.

Suddenly this friendly little guy comes along, introduces himself … it’s Roger Crozier, the Red Wings goalie.

Dad has a nice chat with him, discovers he’s a nice, humble Canadian boy. He also happens to be one of the best rookie goalies in what was then the Original Six in the NHL.

So good, in fact, he won the Calder trophy in the 1964-65 NHL season. (I actually own the engraved silver ice bucket, that teammates gave him as a memento.)

Anyway, Dad came home and had a great story to tell. He met and shook the hand of Red Wings goalie Roger Crozier!

I was mesmerized. Who was this guy? He even gave Dad an autograph on the back of a dealership card.

Previous to this, I was a Maple Leafs fan, and Frank Mahovlich was my favourite player. I even had a Mahovlich calendar.

Well, overnight I became a Crozier/Wings fan. My Dad and I started listening to the games on the radio, a new way that we could bond together.

Whenever I played road hockey, which was often, I was Crozier. My Mom would even knit me a Wings logo to stitch onto a sweatshirt, as we could not afford to buy an actual jersey.

Makichuk in his road hockey gear

Check out this description of his amazing, acrobatic style, from HockeyThenAndNow.

In an era where stand-up goalies were the norm, Crozier resembled a fish out of water. His acrobatic movements were a thing of pure delight. On many plays around his goal crease, Crozier would be flat on the ice. His legs and arms flapping to reach the puck or cover as much space as possible. It was poetry-in-motion when Crozier moved to the front of or beyond his crease to confront a shooter head-on. By doing this, he took away the angles, which suddenly narrowed, as Crozier moved out from the net. As the opposing player advanced, Roger “The Dodger” would back-up in order to adjust to the situation. If a cross-ice pass was completed, the Detroit goalie reacted by propelling his extended body laterally to protect the open-side.

And keep in mind, all this was sans a goalie mask! 

Crozier would suffer two broken jawbones, had part of a front tooth knocked out by an errant hockey stick and sustained a shattered cheek.

I once saw a Bobby Hull slapshot go right past his head during a televised game against the Chicago Blackhawks which shattered the glass behind him. 

Such was the life of an Original Six goalie.

That season, the Wings would make it all the way to the Stanley Cup final against the Montreal Canadiens (whom I would learn to hate, to this day).

Crozier had started all of his team’s games, the last goalie to do so in the NHL, and led the league in wins and shutouts with 40 and six respectively. His 2.42 GAA was the second-lowest in the league.

This little man had singlehandedly changed the league overnight and even earned the attention of Sports Illustrated, in a Nov. 23, 1964 feature story.

The SI piece quoted Wings’ coach Sid Abel as saying: “Crozier has the fastest hands of any goalie I’ve ever seen … and he is the quickest to get back on his feet after a fall.”

Getting to the Cup final was not easy, they had to beat the Chicago Blackhawks who had a fellow by the name of Bobby Hull, and, the great Glenn Hall in goal.

During that series, which the Wings won 4-2, Norm Ullman would score his famous two goals in 5 seconds — which we heard play out on the radio.

The Wings were rolling, and Crozier was killing opposing teams — with elan. The acrobatic goalie was making incredible saves, in a manner that had never been seen before.

Anyway, they made it to the final against the Habs.

To make a long story short, the Wings won the first two games in Montreal and Crozier was red-hot and shutting the door.

Windsor Star sports columnist Jack Dulmage, who followed the series closely, would quote tough guy John Ferguson as saying, “Crozier kills you when he’s hot.”

It would be a prophetic statement.

Whether they had done it intentionally, or not, they ran him — still a sore spot with me, to this day — and took him out. It was nothing short of the Bobby Clarke slash on Soviet star Valeri Kharlamov which happened decades later.

“At first, I thought my leg was broken,” said Crozier. “I was stretching for the corner of the goal when (Bobby) Rousseau fell going through the crease, jamming my leg against the post. 

“There was a searing pain and my leg went limp. It started to quiver, I couldn’t control it and couldn’t regain my feet.”

Hank Bassen, the backup, was forced into action. Crozier would eventually return, but he wasn’t 100%.

The Habs, led by the amazing Jean Beliveau, would win the series 4-2. But the last game remains controversial to this day.

It went into overtime, 2-2, at Olympia Stadium. Henri Richard slid straight into the net, unpenalized, with Wings defender Gary Bergman, who said he held onto his stick.

Columnist Dulmage would call it, “the unseen hand.”

Somehow, the puck ended up in the net. Referee John Ashley ruled it a goal and the rest is history. 

Crozier and Bergman, to their dying days, insisted Richard put it in with his hand. We will probably never know.

The diminutive goalie from Bracebridge — he weighed 160 pounds soaking wet and stood 5-ft. 8-ins. — would win the Conn Smythe trophy on the losing team, with an amazing playoff GAA of 2.34.

After the game, an angry JC Tremblay would kick things around the Canadiens’ dressing room, feeling he should have deserved the MVP award.

But the facts stood out — the 23-year-old backstopped the Red Wings against the two highest-scoring teams in the NHL.

Detroit managed just six goals over those last four games on Gump Worsley, the final two of which Crozier played with a sprained knee and twisted ankle.

In addition to the $1,000 cash award for the Conn Smythe, a $5,000 Mustang sports car was thrown into the mix.

Media reports say Crozier motored around Bracebridge, Ontario during that summer, as he recovered from the Stanley Cup final disappointment.

Of course, I would beg my Dad to take me to a game in Detroit and I will never forget that first experience. It was late in the season, in 1967, and the Wings were hosting the mighty Leafs.

There were no seats left when we arrived on a cold, windy night in Motown, it was a sellout — they just had $3 standing room tickets, which we took.

Struggling to see the action, and, getting repeatedly kicked off the stairs by ushers, I saw my first goal. 

It was none other than Gordie Howe, No. 9, on a breakaway on NHL great Terry Sawchuk. I remember how casually he flipped it in and how the Olympia exploded in sound. 

I also remember the smell of the hotdogs, the walls of cool Wings souvenirs and paraphernalia, none of which we could afford and watching the warriors come off the ice on a red carpet at the end of the game.

The Wings would lose the game and the Leafs would go on to win the Stanley Cup.

Unfortunately, Crozier’s health would take a turn for the worse — he would suffer from pancreatitis and ulcers, which forced him to miss 12 games out of 70 in 1966-67.

He would win only 22 games and recorded a 3.35 GAA, as the Wings missed the playoffs, and after another bout of ill health at the beginning of the 1967–68 season, he announced his retirement due to stress and depression. 

A Wings teammate who went to visit him to try to talk him into returning, found him hammering shingles onto a roof of a house in Bracebridge, Ont.

Crozier’s comment was: “If I bend a nail up here, I don’t have 12,000 people booing me!”

But six weeks later, he would return after a stint with the Fort Worth Wings of the Central Professional Hockey League, playing two more seasons on a mediocre Wings team before being traded to the Buffalo Sabres in 1970.

GM Punch Imlach knew that solid goaltending would be the cornerstone around which a competitive team could be built. Crozier gave the Sabres instant credibility while playing in 44 games in their inaugural season.

His experience and poise gave the Sabres a chance to win any time he was between the pipes.

Still suffering from pancreatitis, ulcers and now afflicted by gallbladder problems, he would help backstop the Sabres to a winning record in 1972-73 with an impressive 2.76 GAA.

He would post 17 wins and two losses in the 1974–75 season, helping the Sabres rank first in the Adams Division. During the NHL playoffs Crozier played five games, including two in the Stanley Cup finals. 

The Sabres would trade him to the Washington Capitals in exchange for cash in 1977. He played only three games with the Caps before retiring after 14 NHL seasons.

Crozier played in 518 regular season games, winning 206, losing 197, tying 70, and played in 32 NHL playoff games, winning 14 and losing 16.

He died at age 53 after a battle with cancer on January 11, 1996.

Taking all of this amazing hockey history into account, it is outrageous to me that Crozier is not in the NHL’s Hockey Hall of Fame.

In fact, he remains the only No. 1 goaltender for a team of the NHL Original Six during the 1960 to 1979 period not elected.

No goalie, not even to this day, stopped pucks so creatively and magically, as Crozier. Had health issues not cut him down, there is no telling what he could have achieved.

It should be noted that he was also active in civic and charity work. He served on the board of directors of the Boy Scouts of America, receiving its Distinguished Citizen Award in 1984. 

He also established the Roger Crozier Foundation to aid underprivileged children.

If ever there was a man, who should be in the Hall, it is Roger Crozier. And I hope and pray it happens, before I join him on that big ice rink in the sky.

Dave Makichuk is a Western Standard contributor
He has worked in the media for decades, including as an editor for the Calgary Herald. He is also the Calgary correspondent for ChinaFactor.news
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1 Comment

  1. Andrew Red Deer

    December 5, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    This brings back memories of watching the Canadiens during seasons 66-71 it was the time of great hockey, unfortunately that we will never see again. I watched Calgary Flames win the Cup in 1988-89 but the game, the players,and the management has gone downhill since and after the second strike I do not watch or follow the game at all. I did watch the first outdoor game between Edmonton and Montreal played at -20 and THAT WAS HOCKEY. No fights, all hockey. It was too cold for the players to stand around and watch the bloodshed. Bring it back, only cities that can make ice outdoors should qualify for a franchise.

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THOMAS: How Western Canada fared in the 2021 housing market

“That didn’t happen. By early summer, sales picked up, prices steadied and the industry hasn’t looked back since, with some markets setting sales records in 2021.”




When COVID-19 hit in March 2020, like many industries, the lockdowns and restrictions shut down housing industry operations.

Home sales and prices plummeted, adding to the fear of the virus that homeowners would lose their homes’ equity. 

That didn’t happen. By early summer, sales picked up, prices steadied and the industry hasn’t looked back since, with some markets setting sales records in 2021. 

Here’s how major markets in Western Canada fared last year.


It was the third year in a row with record-breaking sales and dollar volumes.

“Both 2020 and 2021 were remarkable years in delivering sales gains from the previous year,” said Kourosh Doustshenas, outgoing president of the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board. “Last year saw an increase of more than 2,500 sales compared to 2020 and 33% sales growth over the previous five-year average.”

Sales of existing homes in 2021 reached 18,575 units with the dollar sales volume reaching $6.25 billion, up 28% from 2020.

Single-family homes and condominiums were the most popular, with market shares of 68% and 14% respectively.


The Saskatchewan Realtors Association’s (SRA) report covers all sales in the province. 

A record 17,387 sales were recorded in 2021, surpassing the previous record in 2007 by 17%.

While the pandemic triggered disruptions in some sectors of the economy, housing boomed, said SRA CEO, Chris Guérette.

“Improved savings from those not financially impacted by COVID-19, combined with low lending rates have supported the strong sales environment we saw throughout 2021,” said Guérette, adding inventory levels in the province were 16% below long-term trends.

“This resulted in the MLS Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price* gaining more than seven percent.”


Sales of existing homes in Calgary soared in 2021, reaching a record 27,686, nearly 72% higher than 2020 and more than 44% higher than the 10-year average, says the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB).

“Concerns over inflation and rising lending rates likely created more urgency with buyers over the past few months, said CREB’s chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “However, the supply has not kept pace with the demand, causing strong price growth.” 

The year-end benchmark price was $451,567, up 8% from 2020. 

“We enter 2022 with some of the tightest conditions in over a decade,” said Lurie. “In December, inventory was nearly 25% lower than long-term averages, which will impact our housing market in 2022.”


“2021 was an incredible year for the Greater Edmonton Area (GEA),” says Realtors Association of Edmonton chair Tom Shearer. “The year-over-year stats for sales and listings in the GEA were significantly higher than December 2020.”

Last December, single-family home sales rose 16.5% from December 2020.  Condo sales increased 25.6% from December 2020. Duplex/rowhouse sales increased 16.8% year-over-year.

The HPI benchmark price in the GEA came in at $410,900, a 5.2% increase from December 2020.

Metro Vancouver

Home sales reached an all-time high in 2021, with the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reporting a total of 43,999, a 4% increase over the previous record of 42,326 in 2015.

The HPI composite benchmark price at the end of 2021 was $1,230,200, a 17.3% increase from December 2020.

“While steady, home listing activity didn’t keep pace with the record demand we saw throughout 2021. This imbalance caused residential home prices to rise over the past 12 months,” said Keith Stewart, REBGV economist.

“Detached home and townhome benchmark prices increased 22% last year, while apartments increased 12.8%.”


There were 10,052 properties sold in 2021, close to the record of 10,622 sales in 2016.

“The theme of this year has been very consistent,” says Victoria Real Estate Board president David Langlois. “Each month a high demand for homes paired with record low inventory has put strong pressure on pricing and attainability.”

The single-family HPI benchmark price in the Victoria Core in December 2021 was $1,144,900, up 25.1% from $1,122,600 in November. The HPI benchmark price for a condominium in the area in December 2020 was $570,600 up from $487,100 a year earlier. 

Housing supply across the country is a concern, said Langlois

“We have spoken throughout the year about the need for new housing supply at all levels to help moderate prices and improve attainability,” he said. “Some of our municipalities have begun to look at ways to make it easier for new homes to be brought to market and we applaud and encourage any movement in this area.”

*The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) is a measure of real estate prices that provides a clearer picture of market trends over traditional tools such as mean or median average prices. It is designed to be a reliable, consistent, and timely way of measuring changes in home prices over time.

Myke Thomas is a Western Standard contributor. He started in radio as a child voice actor, also working in television and as the real estate columnist, reporter and editor at the Calgary Sun for 22 years.

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MAKICHUK: Flaming question: Should we let them go, or not?

“Maybe Gondek can take a holiday in Mexico? Pretty please?”




So, do we care if the Flames leave, or not?

That, my friends, is the question. 

While it appears Mayor Jyoti Gondek was instrumental in letting the arena deal die, it’s never quite as simple as that.

I wouldn’t exactly put halos over the heads of the Flames owners either.

Someone suggested the right people to negotiate this thing are not in place — that actually sounds like it might have some merit.

It reminds me of when the Flames decided to trade Doug Gilmour, the player who helped them win the Stanley Cup.

At that time, sources told me the team and Gilmour were not that far apart in the money department. In fact, it was pocket change compared to what they pay players now.

I won’t go over the Gilmour-Leeman trade, it’s too painful for Flames fans to have to endure, and, well, I’m not that cruel of a person.

But really, are we that far apart now? We all know construction costs are soaring, but slamming the door shut on this deal, is not the way to go, IMO.

Even though I can’t stand the Flames. Why?

Well, for starters, I’m a Red Wings fan, all the way.

Secondly, when I worked at the Calgary Sun, whenever the Flames went into the playoffs we would end up working 12-hour days until the ordeal was over.

We did well against the competition, having a good stable of writers who worked their tails off. Not to mention the best sports photogs in the city.

As we got no extra overtime pay for all this extra effort and hardly saw our families during these times — which were exciting, of course, no argument there — it just got to be too much.

We would kill forests of trees to pound out pages on the Flames and their playoff adventures. 

In the end, whenever the Flames were eliminated, we would hold the “Thank You Flames Open” — a golf tournament, complete with prizes, and, a Green Jacket, which we purchased at Goodwill for $8.

The winner would get to wear the green jacket in the office, for an entire year — a tremendous honour!

But I’m not here to beat up on the Flames. I know how important this team is to the city.

While personally I don’t care if they stay or go, I know a lot of people want them to stay because they have become such an important symbol of our city.

Some of the best hockey ever played was between the Flames and, those guys up north … what’s their name again? Oil something?

Anyway, you get the picture. We happen to have a big rivalry with the folks in Edmonton who seem to get things done better and faster than our city council.

Case in point, Rogers Place. How come they could get it done and we couldn’t? 

That project also went over-budget, and led to a similar standoff. Clearly, cooler heads prevailed and Edmonton’s council approved the funding for the House of McDavid … and the rest, as they say, is history.

By the way, they also have better winter snow removal according to what I’ve been told.

So do we care or not? Should we try to resurrect this deal or not? 

Should Gondek — she of the climate emergency no one cares about — swallow her pride and step aside from the negotiation process?

Or, well … should we let them go and build a brand new stadium for the Calgary Stampeders instead? Believe it or not, they actually do need a new stadium.

As much as I love McMahon stadium, it is seriously out of date. I mean, even Regina has a much better football stadium, for crissakes. Regina!

If you ask me, I’d rather axe the Green Line, and other such Nero-like mega-projects of the previous mayor and use that money elsewhere.

But let’s get back to the Flames. Remember Winnipeg, who went through a dark period after their NHL team left town?

Glen Murray was city councillor for Winnipeg’s Fort Rouge ward at the time and was elected as the city’s mayor in 1998. He watched as Winnipeg’s team slipped away, eventually moving to Phoenix, where hockey never really caught on.

“It was heartbreaking because the provincial and the municipal governments who were subsidizing [the team] couldn’t sustain it,” Murray told the CBC.

“Every proposal for a new arena involved hundreds of millions of dollars, which no one in the community could raise at the time,” he said. “It was a real dark period for the city because people love their hockey team.”

When the much-despised NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the return of the then still-to-be-named team in May 2011, the excitement in the city was palpable.

“In all my years as a reporter, I have never seen a city stop before,” said Marjorie Dowhos, a CBC Manitoba reporter. 

“Cheers immediately broke out, some people had tears in their eyes and I had shivers up my spine as I watched all of this,” she said.

Season tickets went on sale to the general public on June 4 and sold out in 17 minutes.

What more do I have to say? Do we really want to go the way of the Winnipeg Jets?

Let me finish, with a little story.

Back in 1967, my Dad took me to my first NHL hockey game at the Olympia in Detroit. They were sold out, so we bought $3 standing room tickets.

The first thing I saw was Gordie Howe score effortlessly on Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Terry Sawchuk, on a breakaway. The place went nuts, it literally shook.

That, and many other experiences that evening, would change my life. I saw walls of Red Wings paraphernalia, none of which we could afford. I think all we came home with was a cheap program.

To this day, I will never forget that first experience of watching the Wings play and seeing them walk off the ice on a carpet, right in front of me.

Hockey gods they were — not like today’s overpaid prima donnas.

One can’t really put a dollar value on that. I don’t know how much the Flames bring to the city, financially, but I would imagine it’s significant. But then, there’s that emotional attachment, too. 

Remember the big run in 2004? We all do. Hell, even I was popping shooters on 17 Avenue!

So yeah, hell, let’s try to keep the Flames. Let’s give it another go and hope that as good citizens the Flames owners group will cut us some slack in this time of financial disarray. And let’s get the right people in there, to get this done.

Maybe Gondek can take a holiday in Mexico? Pretty please?

And really, let’s leave this “line in the sand” crap to Vladimir Putin and his maniacal ambitions. 

We’re better than that, I’m sure of it. Let’s get ‘er done.

Dave Makichuk is a Western Standard contributor
He has worked in the media for decades, including as an editor for the Calgary Herald. He is also the Calgary correspondent for ChinaFactor.news

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SLOBODIAN: Truckers going pedal-to-the-metal for Canadian freedoms

“We feel that the trucking industry is literally this country’s last hope to potentially getting our freedoms back.”




The complainers started calling Richland Transport Inc. while Rick Wall was still at the Canada-U.S. border protesting federal mandates requiring cross-border truckers to be fully COVID-19 vaccinated.

Wall, president of the Winkler, Man. trucking firm, organized Convoy Against Mandates. Semi-trucks drove along Highway 75 to the Pembina-Emerson port of entry in Southern Manitoba Monday. Pickups, tractors, and cars joined in.

“I love the haters. We’ll go out there all day long and battle for them as much as we will for any supporters. We were out there uniting the truck industry to fight all mandates for everyone,” Wall told the Western Standard

“This country has been ripped apart. We need to reunite and love and respect each other like we used to. Our government has done a tremendous job of dividing us, destroying us.

“We’re supposed to hate each other based on medical decisions. That is not right… We need to open our eyes.”

One caller who threatened to cut Richland’s phone lines “because your boss is stupid” might change his mind when the impact of the Liberal mandate personally affects him.

The mandate requiring truckers returning from the U.S. to be fully vaccinated or quarantine took effect January 15.

“Whether you support our movement or not, it will affect you. You wouldn’t see an instant effect from what we haul. It’s a trickle effect. It’s all linked,” said Wall.

With fewer drivers delivering loads, the supply chain will be heavily impacted. The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) anticipates a loss of 12,000-16,000 cross-border commercial drivers. Some estimates peg it higher at 20,000-26,000.

Unvaccinated American drivers will be denied entry.

“You’re going to see price increases on basically everything, especially food. I think you’ll see a lot of empty grocery store shelves. We’re in the middle of winter and our food is getting trucked in. Nobody’s growing gardens this time of year. They couldn’t have picked a worse time to do this. So much of our produce comes from the southern U.S.”

Meanwhile, unvaccinated truckers forced into quarantine — after they deliver their loads — lose income. 

“In a lot of scenarios, it’s basically taking that particular driver’s right to provide a livelihood for his family away from him. It’s detrimental to these families. There’s a lot of drivers not willing to participate in this mandate. The vaccines are clearly not working, that’s my view on it.”

Truckers have been treated shamefully by a Liberal government that kept changing direction. 

Since mid-November, the government was in a state of confusion over the requirements, announcing different rollout criteria, then going back to the original plan.

“It’s been a really, really tiring battle. Our heads have been spinning for months. Clearly, we saw how chaotic that was last week on how the government flip-flopped right until the very end,” said Wall.

“We had no solid information on the Canadian side basically until they started enforcing it on our drivers. It was pretty tough for us to navigate and try to figure out what do we tell our drivers.”

When the mandate kicked in, Richland’s first returning driver ran into problems at the border.

“He was down in the U.S. for a week. He came across Saturday morning. He was verbally abused by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers at Emerson port of entry. He was treated horribly and was finally released after an hour and-a-half and told to go quarantine.

“Most of these guys know their rights. They will cite their rights and try to stand up for themselves. I’m very proud of them for doing that. We should all have that right.”

Some CBSA officers treat truckers with “utmost” respect.

“But the next guy is on a complete power trip giving the driver a really hard time, disrespecting them, denouncing everything the driver will say in his own defense.

“Goodness gracious, you’re coming home to your own country where you pay your taxes. And quite frankly, that officer’s salary… They come back home, and they’re treated like criminals. 

“Our system is incredibly broken…Something has to be done.”

Well, never underestimate the grit and stamina of truckers.

They’re just getting started. More rallies are planned.

A convoy rally will be held January 24 in Winnipeg. It will circle the perimeter of the city then head to the legislature.

A cross-Canada trucking convoy starting January 23 in Vancouver working its way east will gain momentum as it crosses the country. Truckers from across Canada will convene in Ottawa.

“It’ll just take a few more of us to stand up and say this isn’t right and try to unite the people. We need to end all these totalitarian mandates,” said Wall.

“We feel that the trucking industry is literally this country’s last hope to potentially getting our freedoms back.”

And our shelves stocked.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard

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